June 23, 2000
LEE PATTERSON: Low round of the tournament so far. Good position heading into the weekend. Maybe just a couple of thoughts about that; then we will open it up for questions.
ROBERT DAMRON: I played real good yesterday and shot even. I was excited about how I was playing and I just couldn't get anything to happen, doubled the second hole and felt-- was anxious to come out today. I thought I might do some -- hit some good shots and do some good things.
LEE PATTERSON: Any questions?
Q. How much did you learn from that tournament a couple years ago up here? How much did it help?
ROBERT DAMRON: I think it helped a lot, especially at the time, you know, I didn't really fall back at the end. A couple of guys just beat me. So it helped my confidence knowing that I could handle myself there, just wasn't my week. But on the other hand, three, four years ago now, it is just kind of a fond memory now.
Q. Did you hit the ball as well today and just make putts? Did you hit the ball better?
ROBERT DAMRON: Just made some putts. I really didn't hit it any better today. I guess yesterday late, the greens were not quite as good and I kept hitting them where I was looking and they just weren't going in. Today with the greens a little better, maybe it gave me a little more confidence that they were going to go in if I hit them in the right spot.
Q. Taking into account your success three years ago and the nice round today, what is it about this course that maybe suits your game?
ROBERT DAMRON: I am not sure. I like the way the ball sits in the fairways. It sits up just a little bit. I don't have to, you know, really go down after it and kind of try to pinch it off the ground because it sits up. Some places the greens just suit your eye. You feel like when you read a putt you know that is what it is going to do and you can hit it there. Some other places you question yourself - maybe I am right; maybe I am not, and it is tougher to hit a good putt when you are not decisive. I seem to be more decisive here.
Q. Last year you contended at Bay Hill, hometown, what was that experience like for you?
ROBERT DAMRON: Bay Hill is a lot of fun, even -- I missed the cut this year and I still had a good time. Just wasn't my week. Just didn't play that well. It was fun to -- you know, it was a great experience to be there and have a lot of gallery cheering for me and everything, but I was really never in contention-who won Bay Hill a couple years ago? Lumpy, yeah, they were far enough ahead of me where I wasn't going to catch them without a lot of help. So it was just kind of, see how good you can play. And I never really got nervous or anything because I really wasn't contending for the tournament.
Q. What was your mindset after shooting even, playing well and shooting even yesterday, how did you approach today?
ROBERT DAMRON: I was very relaxed today. This is my eighth week in a row on the road. I haven't been home in eight weeks and to be honest with you, if I didn't play well today, there is an upside to that because I was going to get to go home. But I certainly didn't come out expecting to play poorly because I was hitting it well and putting well. I hit it well last week in the Open and just -- I don't know what happened there on the weekend, but I just tried to come out and keep doing what I did yesterday and maybe a couple of breaks will go my way today.
Q. Do you prefer a course like this where sub-par round is expected or a course like last week where --
ROBERT DAMRON: You know, honestly, I prefer a course where single digits under par wins, where bogey comes into play a little more often. Last week being in California, I just don't -- I don't seem to play well in California. The greens are different. I have never done much on the West Coast. Never really had that many good tournaments or good rounds, so I prefer a course to play a little tougher, but if you are playing well, it doesn't really matter.
Q. A lot has been made of the fact that there aren't a tremendous number of so-called big names at this tournament. Does that make the whole experience any different for you and? Once you get into this kind of position, does it feel like, okay, this opportunity is better than the average opportunity because of who is not here?
ROBERT DAMRON: I don't really think of it that way. Really, if I take care of my job the way I am supposed to, it doesn't matter who is here and who is not here, because I can't control what they do. I just do what I can as best as I can and add it up at the end. Sure, when you are not playing against the top players, it seems that you can recover from a mistake easier because you know that the other -- you don't know, but you think the other players may make a mistake because of inexperience. But like I said, it is just -- I try to do my job and I have got zero control over what anyone else does.
Q. If you hadn't shot this good round today and you happened to head home for the weekend, what would you have been doing Saturday and Sunday?
ROBERT DAMRON: I would be resting. I have been -- after California last week, my sleep schedule has been completely thrown off. I have been exhausted actually for a couple of days and then today I actually felt all right, but when I landed I got in at midnight fell asleep at 6 AM. I guess at 6 AM Tuesday morning I fell asleep and then I slept 10 hours the next two nights and just too much sleep really and I have been a little messed up. I would have gone home and probably laid on the couch for a while.
Q. You said you don't really have any regrets from the way you played that Sunday here three years ago when you contended. But does that give you -- if you are in contention here on Sunday coming down the back nine, will that help you in terms of your -- feeling a little more comfortable having been in that position before?
ROBERT DAMRON: I don't really think. Like I said, it has been three years ago. What it does give me -- what it does make me comfortable with is that I can play the course well. If I am playing good and have a chance in the back nine Sunday I know by my track record that I can shoot good numbers on this course and on the back nine and so that -- I think that is the only way it could really help me.
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else? Thank you.
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